DIY,  Photography

DIY: Succulents in a Jar

Happy New Year!

I started off my new year by making a collage of a some of the latte art I have been pouring…still not nearly perfect but fun all the same to see them all together. I used my iphone4 to take all these photos and the apps Diptic and Instagram to edit them. I am thinking of doing the same thing using my regular camera and photoshop and then hanging it on my wall.


Now to the DIY…I have a slight obsession with succulents. They are beautiful and easy to keep alive. Living where I do it is hard to find plants that I can keep alive, inside, all winter long. Coincidentally I have also been trying to find things to do with my left over glass containers. I also have a not so small obsession with candles…specifically the Aspen Bay Capri Blue Volcano candle sold at Anthropologie. Here is how I combined my love of succulents with my empty volcano glass jars.

I have been doing some research on how to grow succulents in a jar. It usually requires the purchase of charcoal, ¬†and cactus soil or regular earth mixed with sand, a small piece of mesh (burlap may work), and some small stones. Find the jar you want and choose a sufficiently small succulent. You don’t want the roots to reach to the bottom of the jar because there is no drainage. You don’t want the roots sitting in standing water.

1. Layer an inch and a half to two inches of medium to small stones on the bottom of your jar. You can start with large stones and then top the two inches off with smaller stones to fill in the gaps.

2. Lay the small piece of mesh or burlap over the stones. This provides a natural barrier between the dirt and the stones allowing the water to drain and the soil to dry.

3. Layer a small layer of charcoal on top of the mesh and then layer some dirt.

4. Now you can place your succulent in the jar and fill it with more dirt. Sometimes I top the jar off with a small layer of orchid bark or something purely ornamental to finish off the look.

5. When watering a succulent that is potted this way it is best to only use a little bit of water. Then let the soil dry completely before adding a little more water. Succulents are desert plants and survive better with less water than with over-watering. Once you have finished you can decorate your jar if it is more simple with fabric, white burlap, and other trimmings.

I have a friend Amy Geer, who did all the centerpieces for a shower using this technique. She did not use the charcoal or the screen she simply put rocks in the base and used orchid bark on the top. They were beautiful! I think they would make amazing wedding centerpieces as well. I just love having succulents in my home and I have many jars to re-use so it helps to have an option that uses both.

Here are some pictures of the succulent center pieces.

Succulents are easy to find and inexpensive, so even if your first few attempts result in the plants not surviving you can replace them easily. I find mine at walmart or at Lowes Hardware in the garden center. For a larger collection you can check out local garden shops, depending on the time of year they should have more of a variety of succulent plants.

Here are a few I recently purchased and have yet to pot.

If you have a larger container you can do the same method of potting only pot many different varieties. This is called a succulent garden and you can use your creativity in combining shapes and colors and arranging the plants in a pleasing manner.

The sky is the limit if you think creatively. Once you know how to plant the succulents you can use old mugs (if they are deep enough), wooden boxes, mason jars, the list goes on. I have tried a few times to plant succulents in covered jars but even with taking the lid off regularly this isn’t a great idea. Succulents simply do not need that much water and a closed terrarium environment is not the best for them.



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